Quince Vodka

Last week, observing Charles’ numerous adventures with quince, I realised I had almost forgotten to talk about my last year’s quince-infused vodka, which, after a year’s aging has become an subtle, highly aromatic, slightly sweet and beautifully, amber-coloured drink. I know quince (Cydonia oblonga) is not very popular worldwide, so for those who have never seen it, here is a photo of a ripe and big specimen I took last year:

Quince’s form is a cross between a pear and an apple. The fruit is usually covered in whitish fuzz, which is easy to remove. This magic fruit is practically inedible when raw due to its excessive tanginess, but, once cooked or transformed, it gives miraculous results. This is mainly due to the quince’s complex and strong aroma, slightly reminding delicate honey, but also to its tanginess, particularly appreciated in preserves. Apart from the quince infused vodka, I have made two absolutely fabulous preserves: quince jelly and quince sauce. Both have a strong aroma, beautiful colours and a very subtle pleasant taste.

I have got the below vodka recipe from my mum, who learnt to make it several years ago when one of her friends started to give her quince from her orchard. I have slightly modified it, browsing through the home liquor makers. Contrary to certain fruit-infused vodkas, this one requires lots of patience, but it’s totally worth it.

If you want to make a fruit-infused vodka ready to drink very soon, I recommend the Mandarin Peel Vodka, which is very easy and gives a very aromatic and impressive results. Orange Vodka is not as spectacular, but also excellent, while the frozen Sour Cherry Vodka is extraordinary, impresses every guest and can be prepared all year long.

Preparation: 3 1/2 months

Ingredients:

500 g quince

500 g sugar

at least 750 ml vodka (see the exact amount below)

Wash the quince, taking off the white fuzz. Cut the fruit roughly into pieces, removing the pips and the stalks (also the remains of the flower), but without peeling.

Put the quince into a big jar and cover with the sugar.

Place the jar in a warm (not hot) place for 4 weeks, shaking every day so that the sugar is well dissolved.

After 4 weeks, strain the juice, weigh it and put into the fridge.

Put back the quince pieces into the same jar and cover them with vodka, (the same weight as the juice you have previously put into the fridge).

Leave in a cool place for 45 days.

Strain, combine with the juice.

Pour 500 ml vodka over the remaining quince and wait one more month before straining it and combining with the previously infused alcohol and juice.

Bottle and wait a couple of months before tasting (keep it somewhere you will easily forget it).

The fruit can be used in cakes (whole or mixed into a sauce).

Quince Vodka on Punk Domestics

38 thoughts on “Quince Vodka

  1. Jeno @ Week Nite Meals

    Sissi, I am amazed at the amount of knowledge I am learning through reading your blog! Quince is not a fruit I am familiar with, in fact I don’t think I’ve ever seen it in any grocery markets in Texas. You mentioned they are inedible without being cooked, what happens if one eats it raw?

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you, Jeno. I think I will update the post! I meant it is really not very palatable when raw (nothing dangerous apart from the horrible face you will make when biting into it ;-)

      1. Jeno @ Week Nite Meals

        HAHAHAHAHAH your reply cracked me up! This reminds me of the little fruits my husband and little girl picked from a tree at San Francisco, they were urging me to eat it because it tasted so good, but I kept on telling them there’s a reason there are so many un-touched fruits still left on the tree, and I am not willing to find out.

        Well the next day we went to the Japanese market Nami recommend us to visit, sure enough I saw a package of that mystery fruit sitting on display, with a big warning sign telling people they are not to be eaten raw, only after cooking would they be considered not poisonous. My daughter did have some digestive system discomfort, so I am glad they didn’t get to eat a whole bunch due to my protest!

        1. Sissi Post author

          Thank you, Jeno for the hilarious history. I think eating raw quince might provoke the same stomach problems as eating a completely unripe apple or pear. I would never finish even one quince, it’s really not good when raw.

  2. ping

    Quince!! I’ve been reading about from so many blogs it’s driving me nuts! Not in a bad way … I so need to find some and try it out! Everyone’s talking about the lovely fragrance once it’s cooked. I’m keeping my eyes peeled for some jam or even artificial quince flavored products just so I get a whiff of it. I wonder if there are dried quince around? or even essence of quince? :D

    1. Sissi Post author

      Ping, I hope you find it one day. Even in Europe it’s not a very popular fruit (especially for those people who shop only in supermarkets, they might have never even heard about quince). A cooked quince (or transformed into a jam, jelly etc.) has a very subtle, difficult to describe smell. I have never seen dried quince, but since it’s very tangy while raw it might be the reason it’s not dried. Good luck!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you, Jessica. It goes best on its own I think (it’s very strong and rather like a shot, not a glass of wine…).

  3. Mr. Three-Cookies

    A drinks post, it must be Friday:)

    I’ve never had quince, been hearing about it a lot. 3,5 months for the recipe – thats a long time but sounds like totally worth it. I am surprised that the vodka survived the whole year. I don’t think I can have a bottle lying around for that long!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Mr. Three-Cookies, this post is especially for you ;-) I felt very sad hearing your disappointment every Friday when you didn’t see any drinks. I can assure you waiting a couple of months is easier when one has lots of other fruit infused vodkas around (and they are strong, cannot be drunk in big amounts). The thing which also helps is that frankly just after bottling the quince vodka was awful.

  4. Sara

    Lovely! I am on the hunt for quince. I love how this is a twofer, you get the infused vodka and preserved fruit for a later use.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you, Sara. You can even make two vodkas with the same batch of quince, but the second one will have less aroma and flavour (some people do it).

  5. Nami | Just One Cookbook

    I did a little bit research about quince because Japanese name is usually completely different so I had to know what it is. We call it Karin or Marumero (カリン or マルメロ) – see, told you. ;-) I don’t think I’ve seen these trees or the fruit itself. The Japanese wiki said these are produced in Nagano. I think I have a memory of trying karin jam before but don’t remember the taste. But you know what’s most famous thing used in Japan? It’s used for candies for coughs and is supposed to help inflammation. I think this vodka could be nice remedy even when you are sick… haha. I wish I can drink alcohol… it sounds like I’m a kid, doesn’t it? =P

    1. Sissi Post author

      It is said that most infused vodkas are healthy. I have a book with infused vodkas recipes and many of them are said to cure cough, stomach problems, headache, colds, etc.. I’m sure that in small amounts (this cannot be drunk in big amounts, even by someone who like me drinks regularly wine and cocktails; it’s very strong and the taste is very intense). Frankly, when I drink sometimes a tiny amount of fruit infused vodka it makes me feel warm inside, but without the pure vodka or other ready-bought alcohol burning… and I feel as if I had more energy! Weird, isn’t it?
      Nami, you simply need more training with me ;-) We would slightly increase amounts of shochu every time we meet and you wouldn’t even notice you have won the alcohol intolerance ;-)
      Is the second name in katakana? I recognise only the メ (I know only 6 katakana signs; does it remind you the times when you were 4 years old? I feel ridiculous).

      1. Nami | Just One Cookbook

        First of all you are better than my 5 year old who’s still learning to write Hiragana (he can recognize all of them). Yes, they are all Katakana. Shochu is scary – even though I can’t drink other alcohol, I truly enjoy sweet shochu drink… as long as it’s sweet like juice I can drink happily. My husband will tell you how much I drank in one night while we were dating… Strawberry shochu with real strawberry in it and yogurt shochu are my favorite. I’m getting thirsty… and it’s Friday!

        1. Sissi Post author

          Your 5-year-old recognises all the hiragana???? I am really impressed and feel so ashamed. I still have problems with some… I will seriously start working every day on it. Do you give him classes very often?
          Shochu with strawberry sounds great, but yogurt shochu sounds out-of-space!!! I would never think of combining yogurt with alcohol. I think I will have a glass of shochu with sparkling water and lime…

          1. Nami | Just One Cookbook

            I work on Japanese at home with him…maybe 2-3 days a week? He has to learn English too, so I’m focusing less. I said yogurt but it’s not yogurt like we eat – it’s Japanese/Korean yogurt.. you know which one I’m talking about? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calpis One of my favorite Japanese drink. Recipe here: http://koreanfood.about.com/od/drinks/r/Yogurtsoju.htm I’ll be drinking this with you while you drink shochu straight. LOL.

            1. Sissi Post author

              Nami, it sounds a bit similar to kefir which is like a very liquid sour milk… very good for hangover ;-)
              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kefir
              I love it! but would have never imagined drinking with shochu… I must see if they have this drink in the Japanese shop and if not I will try with kefir!
              I am now having a barley, aged shochu with a slice of lime, some ice and sparkling water. かんぱい !

  6. Kelly

    Oh, what a great idea for a drink! I wonder how it might be with tequila? Strangely (as Greg at Rufus tells me), for a not-so-big drinker, I prefer tequila to vodka.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you, Kelly. I think it would be too delicate to pair with tequila and on the other hand maybe even with vodka… The aroma is intense, but the flavour is very subtle. I also prefer tequila (strangely my husband hates it) and I think I love it because it is so great in sour drinks I love and it is very sharp and dry!

  7. Cooking Gallery

    You’re so creative Sissi!:-) I have to admit I’m not a fan of vodka, the smell always reminds me of nail polish remover ;)! Well, I guess after adding quince to it, the typical vodka smell (which I’m not very fond of) should be less strong. But I’m very sure this is something for my husband, he likes vodka, even though he doesn’t drink it on a regular basis

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you, CG! I think the vodka smell depends on the brand. The best vodkas (for me) are made with potatoes, but they are quite rare… The usual, medium-quality grain vodka doesn’t really smell nice. I never have vodka shots. I prefer, like Kelly, tequila, in most of my cocktails.

  8. Greg

    Your vodkas always look fabulous. Still wishing I’d made the sour cherry! This is no exception. I haven’t tried quince, but between all the great quince stuff Charles and now you are posting, I need to.

  9. ChopinandMysaucepan

    Beautiful post Sissy, I have actually never cooked with quince before. If anything I have seen them poached and made into a syrupy dessert of sorts. The colour of this vodka looks pretty enticing and I can imagine it being poured when it has been in the freezer. Better you trademark this before Absolute Vodka steals your idea! :) My fave from their collection is the lemon flavoured one.

    Presumably you can keep it in the fridge for that 45 days cooling period.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you! I have bought some more quince today and will be making more jelly and sauces… My favourite flavoured vodka is with black currants and the funny thing is that the best of all my home-made vodkas is with black currants too! The fridge is only necessary for the first juice. Then it can simply be kept anywhere in the house, but not too close to radiators or sun.

    1. Sissi Post author

      I am dreaming of making a green walnuts vodka and pickled walnuts, but I have problems with getting them (I must become friends with someone who has them in their garden), but have never tasted it.

  10. Charles

    Thanks for link Sissi! Actually infusing with alcohol would have been a fantastic use for some of my quinces – I was really starting to run out of ideas towards the end, lol :D As I’ve said before, I’m not a big alcohol fan but I do like the occasional small glass, and what’s more – it makes wonderful gifts (which reminds me, I should check on my peach/cherry brandy!).

    Your quince vodka looks lovely – a beautiful colour and I can just imagine the amazing aroma it must have!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you, Charles! I should have advised you quince vodka, but I have completely forgotten I made it last year. Your posts reminded me and this is when I tasted it for the first time since I bottled it (at the bottling moment it wasn’t good at all). I am very curious about your brandy results!

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